A skin care routine for body: How to protect and maintain healthy skin

Hi Dr. Irwin, Love your website and the scientifically-based, thorough information. I am 48 and just starting to really pay attention to skincare. My question is about a skin care routine for body skin. (As I am already following your suggestions for facial skin and seeing good improvement!) I'm wondering about a good daily routine for body skin. I think I have normal skin, but I do get itchy and flaky on my limbs in the cold, Canadian winter months. I read your blog answers to others about not using anything but water to clean limbs to avoid stripping natural oils, AND using a Cerave moisturizer (I think). Anything else you would suggest in terms of a good daily routine to maintain the overall moisture balance and health of body skin? Thanks! (PS. I ordered your book, too! Can't wait to get it.)

The itchy, dry winter skin is very common, but totally fixable with the right habits, products and care!  I have to say though, that if you live in a very dry, cold climate, it means a bit of work. 🙂

A good skin care routine for body:

  • Shorter showers or baths are good (3-10 minutes),  but hotter water is more drying
  • Gentle lotion cleanser (like Cerave) or gentle soap (like Dove for sensitive skin) only the armpits, groin and head and neck area only.  Don’t “soap” the limbs or trunk – you need your natural oils
  • Once or twice a week, soak 5-10 min in an Epsom salts (2 -4 cups in the bath) or other mineral salt bath – helps  to remove the outer dead layer of skin
  • Once or twice a week, GENTLY exfoliate your body with a wash cloth or gentle loofah. A harsher salt scrub may be used once a month.
  • Every day and every time you get out of the bath or slower, lube lube lube your entire body with cream or lotion.  I like organic ones for this but they can be expensive. Try the Cerave Cream or Cetaphil Cream or Vanicream for more budget alternatives.
  • Creams are better for dry skin than lotions. I recommend SkinMedica Replenish Hydrating Cream.
    Oils can be good also, like this Pevonia Dry Oil Body Moisturizer that I really like for dry skin, and isn’t greasy (wont get your clothes oily).
  • If you are very dry, use creams like Amlactin, Lachydrin or glycolic based body moisturizers.

If you get a rash, it’s generally because you are over scrubbing or allergic to something in the cream.  If it’s not gone in a day or two after stopping , see your doctor!

Hope this helps,  Dr.

Dr. Brandith Irwin, MD

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Hi, I’m Dr. Irwin. I believe that consumers deserve a medically trained and unbiased skincare advocate.

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